President Carter Speaks

President Carter Speaks September 16, 2009

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President Carter publicly added himself yesterday to those concerned over the tone of the health care debate, asserting that much of the animosity directed at President Obama is based in racism.

He told NBC News, “I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he’s African-American.”

“I live in the South, and I’ve seen the South come a long way,” he went on to say. “That racism inclination still exists and I think it’s bubbled up to the surface because of belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It’s an abominable circumstance and grieves me and concerns me very deeply.”

The former president also said that he believes Obama will be able to “triumph over the racist attitude.”

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  • Ronald King

    I am happy he said this. How do we know we have racism in us? We are still living. It is in our hardwiring and we must first recognize that it is there before we have power over it.

  • Magdalena

    “an over-whelming portion.” Really? How does he know that? Did he take a poll or something? Or has President Carter been granted the gift to read souls? I mean I agree it must be there in some portion but you can’t just make statements like that without something more concrete. “an over-whelming portion.” Seriously?

    If he’s referring specifically to the health care debacle surely he remembers when the opposition was just as savage during the Hillary-Care debates in the 90s? It’s too, too easy to reach for racism as an explanation. It sounds like a Senator McCarthy claiming that an overwhelming portion of the opposition are Communists. When people talk like this you can tell they are losing an argument, they have run out of ideas and they are frustrated about it. You know how when two little kids are fighting over a toy, one of them loses, bursts into tears and starts calling the winner names?

    I notice that President Obama himself doesn’t avail himself of this nonsense, perhaps that’s because he’s intelligent enough to actually address the content of the arguments without insinuating things about people’s motives. I’m pretty sure whatever policy victories he has, he won’t view them as “triumphs over the racist attitude” but good deals for Americans in general. What a horrible legacy of our history, that everything President Obama does has to revolve around his race, even in the minds of his most ardent supporters!

  • Mark DeFrancisis

    Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) recently assailed President Obama’s address to Congress. “He says we’re making wild claims,” said Gohmert. “That’s no way to act when you’re invited into somebody else’s house.”

  • JohnH

    When President Carter voiced his opinions on the Israeli/Palestinian situation, many who disagreed with him decided to attribute racial animosity to his underlying reasons for supporting a pro-Palestinian position. I can’t understand why he is now using the exact same side-step technique (ignore the real debate and demonize the opponent) that slandered him as “anti-semitic” to paint Obama’s opponents as “racists” now.

  • Kurt

    President Carter qualified this statement by saying “I think…” and he noted that he was applying it to a “portion” of those with an intensely demonstrated animosity towards the President. Further, he refrained from naming names. By doing so he is following charity and civility. He has the right to make social observations and reference in general terms what his gut tells him.

    My gut tells me the same.

  • What Kurt said.

  • markdefrancisis

    Kurt,

    Yes…he said an “overwhelming portion” of those “WITH AN INTENSELY DEMONSTRATED ANIMOSITY”, not all those who object to Obama’s health care proposals. This distinction, of course, will be missed by many.

  • Magdalena

    Well, it was missed by me. But I’m not sure whether or not it’s a distinction without a difference.

  • [Jonolan – when you have something constructive to contribute, feel free to stop by again – ed.]

  • Sure. State your definition of “constructive.” I find the past actions and character of the speaker to be important when determining the worth of what he or she says. You apparently don’t, so a definition would be appreciated.

  • Matt Talbot

    Jonolan –

    1. I was the editor of that comment.
    2. Inflammatory name-calling is non-constructive; repeat offenses will get you banned.

  • Matt Talbot

    Jonolan –

    1. I was the editor of that comment.
    2. Inflammatory name-calling is non-constructive; repeat offenses will get you banned.

  • Marjorie Campbell

    Simplistic claims like Pres. Carter’s seem incredibly unhelpful and distracting, particularly when this politically eloquent President refuses to go there and treats this sort of rudeness as unacceptable, regardless of race. (re: Kayne’s behavior toward Swift) The fact is – and I can say this because I, too, grew up in the South – “rascism” is passed from parent to child in both white and African-American families … and children who grow up in such environments must be ever vigilant to their own motivations and intent. I think we should all follow President Obama’s example here, to be honest and concentrate on what binds us together, not distinguishes us.

  • Thales

    Considering that I like President Carter and his policies even less than I do President Obama and his health care plan, and President Carter is white, I suspect that I’m not motivated by racism.

  • Ronald King

    What you refer to as a simplistic claim is not as simple as you claim. The president is wise to not go there. He has higher priorities that need his attention. Others can go there as a way of discerning what is actually taking place. If we reject Carter’s statement outright what do we gain by it?
    There is racism and it needs to be exposed no matter where it is. What does not bind us tears us apart. There is no true bond unless we reveal the beliefs and attitudes that separate us.

  • Blackadder

    If the opposition to President Obama is based on racism, what explains the opposition to President Carter?

  • Matt Talbot

    BA – “A prophet is without honor in his own country.”

  • Matt Talbot

    BA – “A prophet is without honor in his own country.”

  • Ronald King

    It is always the messenger that gets killed.

  • Actually the situation is very simple. Carter and most Liberals are merely projecting their own racism onto the Americans who are in dissent from Obama. They’ve done this since Obama’s campaign for the Presidency started.

    They elected a Black President and explicitly crowed over doing so. So who’re the racists?

    Is there still racism in America? Of course, but a large part of it is very carefully overlooked since it is within the Black communities as opposed to in the White communities.

    This can easily be seen by watching any protest against ObamaCare. There are very few Black protesters. Since it’s statistically unlikely that no Blacks are against the reform, it’s as logical to assume that their absence from the protest is due to their racism as i is to assume that the Whites’ attendance is so.

    And one should consider the source of the comment. It’s Carter. Look at what Carter has a track record of doing and who he has a rack record of supporting and consider that when assessing the worth of his opinion.

  • Kurt

    If the opposition to President Obama is based on racism, what explains the opposition to President Carter?

    I would disagree with a general statement that opposition to the President is based on racism. My gut does tell me what President Carter thinks, that a portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity towards President Obama is based on racism.

    For whatever his other faults, Ronald Reagan in the 1980 campaign ran as a ‘happy conservative.’ He swept a good majority of the electoral college without ever generating intense animosity towards President Carter.

    Opposition to President Carter, I found, was based on policy differences and impressions that he was not a strong figure. While people might feel passionate on these matters, it tends to produce rational disagreement, not the intense and irrational animosity that hate and racism so often bring out.

  • Ronald, you are correct. The President need not go there. Kurt, you are also correct. It is not all about race.

    But anyone who denies the uptick in racist sentiments across the country during the past year exhibits either intellectual dishonesty or a mark of ignorance. Carter’s comment resonates fully with the truth. That explains why he is being demonized.

    Having said that, it is important to recognize that the “cries of outrage” (Birthers, Tea Baggers, Tenthers, Town Hallers, and the DC march) we see and hear are orchestrated by a handful of political manipulators, including current and former Members of Congress, talk show entertainers (Limbaugh, Beck, Savage), 501c3 organizations, political consultants, networks (FOX), and bloggers. There is nothing spontaneous about these protests at all. It is sheer political theater.

    What is the purpose of this stratagem? The purpose is to mobilize resentment and manipulate the fears and passions of ordinary Americans in order to accumulate power and wealth for political hacks and those who fund them. These operators don’t even offer an alternative health care proposal. They point to no redeeming prospects on the horizon for ordinary people.

    Citizens are being cynically used as blunt political instruments to achieve gains they will never see. They are being deceived without being aware of deception. In the end, average Americans — people who are legitimately angry about what is happening to their country — will be disappointed and further alienated. They will continue to suffer.

    No American deserves to be treated this way.

    Behind-the-scenes political manipulators, and especially the wealthy and powerful who fund them, have absolutely no intention of advancing the well-being of the people they so self-indulgently use. Their entire enterprise is about achieving gains for the few. They have no desire whatsoever to address the pressing needs of the many.

    It’s time to bring these BIGOTRY ENTREPRENEURS out from the shadows and into the sunlight. Enough is enough,

  • digbydolben
  • Pinky

    It’s generally wise to analyze your opponents’ arguments, not psychoanalyze your opponents themselves. When you question the motives of those who disagree with you, you explicitly put yourself above them. We’re no longer debating the merits of different health care proposals. We’re trying to figure out what mental defect causes our opponents to disagree with us.

    That being said, Carter started it, and I don’t see how two wrongs could lead to anything bad, so let me psychoanalyze Carter. He seems to be one of those bitter people about whom it used to be said that they can’t build themselves up without tearing someone else down. He’s a Dana Carvey Church Lady kind of religious bigot who thinks he has the ability to judge others’ religious faith, but he’s in a political party that looks down on Southerners and Christians, so with this statement he hits a double: he’s able to make fun of the unpopular kids while getting credit for his supposed decency.

    Just off the top of my head.

  • Ronald King

    Pinky, Your analysis exhibits the limitations of your education and training about psychology and psychoanalysis.

  • Ronald King

    Gerald, As always, thank you for your expertise in this dark world of politics.

  • Matt Talbot

    Actually the situation is very simple. Carter and most Liberals are merely projecting their own racism onto the Americans who are in dissent from Obama. They’ve done this since Obama’s campaign for the Presidency started.

    What a bizarre claim. Liberals crowed about Obama’s election because…they’re racists??

    No, it was much more, “A black man has won election to the presidency! How far we’ve come! Hooray!”

    There seems to be a pervasive fear among some factions of our society that Obama will institute some sort of organized retaliation by black people for the oppression they suffered for centuries in the US. There is no evidence that there is any particular danger of this happening, and Obama certainly is the very opposite of someone who might lead such an effort, but the fear is there.

  • Matt Talbot

    Actually the situation is very simple. Carter and most Liberals are merely projecting their own racism onto the Americans who are in dissent from Obama. They’ve done this since Obama’s campaign for the Presidency started.

    What a bizarre claim. Liberals crowed about Obama’s election because…they’re racists??

    No, it was much more, “A black man has won election to the presidency! How far we’ve come! Hooray!”

    There seems to be a pervasive fear among some factions of our society that Obama will institute some sort of organized retaliation by black people for the oppression they suffered for centuries in the US. There is no evidence that there is any particular danger of this happening, and Obama certainly is the very opposite of someone who might lead such an effort, but the fear is there.

  • Ronald,

    It has been especially dark in recent decades, with only an occasional but flickering ray of light. But good people still struggle to reconcile contradictions, and the future will be made a little brighter for it.

  • Zak

    The Limbaugh thing Digby cited seems obviously racist to me, as conservative Rod Dreher has noted.

    That said, I think a lot of the right wing dislike of Obama really is about distrust of government and dislike of cultural liberals. Otherwise, why the opposition to Clinton? He really drew out the right wing crazies (Vince Foster, anyone). That wasn’t about race. Unless Toni Morrison was right and he really was the first black president.

  • Ronald King

    I have not seen this type of intense reaction outside of war protests and Watergate in response to any president’s domestic policy proposals. What is the nature of such intense reaction?

  • If there was such a volatile “distrust of government,” where were the teabaggers for Patriot Acts 1 and 2?

  • Mark DeFrancisis

    Rod Dreher on Rush Limbaugh:

    “Look, I think it’s important to talk about black male violence, or at least as important as it is to talk about any other important social trend. I don’t think we should be squeamish about discussing it in a responsible and fair-minded way, despite what the politically correct say. But good grief, Limbaugh is up to something wicked. He’s plainly trying to rally white conservatives into thinking that now that we have a black president, blacks are rising up to attack white kids! Christ have mercy, what is wrong with these people?

    I won’t have anything to do with it, not even tangentially, which is why I took down the post. I can’t see this as anything other than Limbaugh deliberately trying to whip up racial fear and loathing of the president. This goes far, far beyond tough criticism of Obama. Does that man Limbaugh have any idea what rough beast he’s calling forth? […]”

    “It’s undeniably true that black males, as a group, are disproportionately responsible for violent crimes today (and blacks are disproportionately victims, too). This is important to talk about. This means something. I hate the kind of political correctness that demands we pretend not to see what we see. But as far as I’m concerned, if the Limbaughs of the world are going to be doing this kind of thing, and trying to blame, with no logical grounds whatsoever, a black president for black-on-white violence, and if they’re going to do this in an increasingly hysterical atmosphere of protest against that black president, I don’t want to talk about these things at all. Now is not the time. With this kind of inflammatory rhetoric, they are quite simply tearing the country apart.”

  • I think we are seeing a level of right wing craziness that we have never seen before, and a lot more open racism right at the time when the national discourse was naively saying that Obama symbolizes how race is “no longer an issue” in the united states. Isn’t it amazing how so many on the right have been saying all along how we have “transcended” the race “problem,” and now we see these nut cases out in the open? The rest of the world look at the u.s. from the outside and sees our racism clear as day. Are we right and the rest of the world wrong?

  • If there was such a volatile “distrust of government,” where were the teabaggers for Patriot Acts 1 and 2?

    Exactly. And we know why, of course. The Patriot Acts were two instances of the codification of racism. We need the government, so these people think, only for the purpose of keeping us pure and keeping “outsiders” (both literally outside and those that they think should be placed outside) away.

  • Fr. Jim

    Utter garbage. Former President Carter is a disgrace. If we are all racists how did Obama get elected? What is happening is an attempt to shut down discussion or disagreement. After the 8 years of vile hateful attacks on President Bush I find the current moans about civility to be pure hypocrisy. I don’t care what color Obama is, but I do care that he is a disaster in the making.

  • Indeed. But their widespread support, especially in the first incarnation, is a good example of the inconsistency of the whole movement (eg, accepting some massive government while rejected government that could actually benefit someone lower in the social strata).

  • And since I can’t complete a whole thought today, I’ll post again. It is racist, and it is also classist.

  • Thom – Right. The entire republican-fascist project is full of deep and profound contradictions. Those contradictions are becoming more and more obvious to more people, I think, as these movements intensify and become more combative. People of good will are sick of it, and although these voices are relatively pretty loud, it seems like the movement has no future but one of collapse and irrelevance. The human family can take no more of this nonsense.

  • Pinky

    Ronald, I wasn’t literally talking about psychoanalysis. I’ve used that analogy before in political discussions, and you’re the first person to have a problem with it. I hope you got the gist of what I was saying, that as soon as you start addressing the motives behind a person’s political position, you lose the ability to analyze that position on its merits.

  • Fr. Jim – In comparing the protests against Bush and the protests against Obama you are conveniently leaving out the CONTENT of those protests. Bush was protested because of his policies which killed millions of human persons. Obama is being protested in these new crop of protests by people who are blatant racists — NOTHING “hidden,” nothing to “interpret,” but people who are OPENLY RACIST. To quote that jerk from FOX News, “Look at the pictures.”

  • Blackadder

    My gut does tell me what President Carter thinks, that a portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity towards President Obama is based on racism.

    That’s a powerful gut you got there, Kurt. Does it ever tell you anything about winning lotto numbers?

  • “I think we are seeing a level of right wing craziness that we have never seen before”

    MIchael, you are correct. These people now occupy centers of power within the government itself and held power in the House and Senate, and the Presidency. The U.S. political right targeted and took over the Republican Party. They now own it and have transformed it into a fundamentalist political movement. All this has happened in three decades.

    Much of this can be attributed to Newt Gingrich. He recruited individuals throughout the U.S. (sorry) to run for public office in local, state, and federal government. He made a point of appealing to the kind of people you would call “the crazies.” Most are still in power. Others like DeLay have been defeated.

    Many more are embedded in the Federal bureaucracy, the think tanks, the media, the internet, and so forth. They have formed an army and it is fully mobilized. Power and wealth is all that matters.

    To curtail the volatility that is so alarming in politics, it is necessary to realize that volatility itself is a stratagem. To counter this strategy there is a need to counter all these forces that promote the strategy. As a start, political figures must be defeated at the polls. The Republican Party must be given new blood so it can work for the common good.

    There is also a deeper challenge. We need to get away from a Dualistic mindset. We need to stop Scapegoating. We need to stop the Demonization of political leaders. And we need to get away from an aggressive Apocalyptic view of politics. This is the methodology of the U.S. political right.

    Finally, we need to become aware of the alarming influence of Dominionism in American politics and culture.

    Michael, this only scratches the surface. The future of this country hangs in the balance more than most people realize.

  • Pinky

    Michael, this is the second time I’ve spotted you citing context in an argument that boils down to, “yeah, but we’re right and they’re wrong”.

  • Kurt

    Fr. Jim,

    I would disagree with anyone saying we are all racists. I agree with President Carter that I think a portion of those who demonstrate intense animosity are motivated by racism.

    I think most every person here in agreement with President Carter has been very careful to qualify their observation to apply to a portion of President Obama’s critics. I also count several critics of President Carter who take his carefully chosen words and universalizes them (you, jonolan, BA).

    I think when you and the other do that, you contribute to the problem rather than to do anything to resolve it.

  • Pinky

    “I think we are seeing a level of right wing craziness that we have never seen before”

    There are a lot of unemployed people who blame the government and have access to Twitter.

  • Ronald King

    Pinky, I do have a problem with the common misunderstanding of the general population’s impression of the psychology of being human. It has been denegrated by the flooding of pop psychology’s attempt to simplify the human being into a comprehensible self-help book.
    That said, and I must get back to work, every human being operates within the context of their personal history of genetic, intrapersonal and interpersonal influences that will trigger their emotional responses miliseconds before their conscious mind forms beliefs that resonate with the feelings being triggered. This then will form the basis of our interpersonal relationships as adults. The amygdala, which is located in the primitive limbic area of the brain, is purely instinctive and all external and internal stimuli are connected directly to this region because of its critical role in survival. It motivates us to fight or run. It influences us to bond or distance ourselves. As a matter of fact the male’s sexual drive passes through the amygdala unlike the female’s which bypasses it–go figure.
    Anyway, we form basic beliefs depending on what is triggered with this structure.
    This is very brief and simplistic but is scientifically correct. To learn a new emotional response in adulthood after the age of 24 is very difficult because the protein (the name escapes me right now) that enhances emotional learning greatly declines after this age. Consequently, it is extremely difficult to change emotional reactions to percieved threats and as a result the brain will continue to form beliefs to support the reaction of the amygdala.
    That is why restraint is extremely important in human interactions.

  • OK, I surrender. The editor(s) have shown their bias in which comments they choose to let stand at which they choose to delete.

    I’m very sorry to intrude on what is now obviously little more than a Liberal diatribe against Americans, with a few sane interjections by Pinky.

    Have a nice day.

  • Marjorie Campbell

    Oh Jonolan, don’t give up. I know they will let some conservative comment in! I think there are many points of truth here in these posts … but we so love phrasing oppositionally that we don’t get to a dialogue. Here we have a southern, successful male politican, whose done a lot of really good work in the nonprofit area, claiming “You lie” shouted by a white male in Congress in response to an African-American male’s assertion of a fact is motivated by racism. Rep Wilson apologizes, Pres. Obama’s fine with that … but Pres. Carter felt the need to weigh in either (1) because he’s not had a headline in a while (headlines DO get addictive … just ask Limbaugh) and/or (2) Mr. Carter sincerely believes that Rep Wilson shouted “you lie” because the President is African-American and Rep Wilson has an issue with that. The latter certainly could be the case, particularly if Pres. Carter had other examples of Rep Wilson directing inappropriate animosity only toward African-Americans. But I think he’ll be hard-pressed to come up with that from what I’ve read. http://tinyurl.com/nqwolh What I think seems more likely is that Pres Carter truly is exquisitely race sensitive and can see rascim in every inter-racial exchange and he’s never really had to reflect on that because he gets quick and easy publicity making that sort of allegation against a guy who, according to what I’ve read, has no record whatsoever of being what Pres. Carter accuses him of.
    BTW, why does anyone read Rush Limbaugh? I am about as conservative as any Catholic woman you might meet, but consumers of that type hype seem like emotion junkies to me.

  • I don’t think that most of the ones who are racist recognize it explicity. Truly, many people on any side of the spectrum are racist and don’t realize it. It works behind the scenes sometimes.

  • Jovan

    In Rep. Wilson’s defense, I doubt that his outburst was motivated by racism against Obama as such–he was probably driven more by your run-of-the-mill racism spewed against illegal immigrants. The very fact that certain folks in the health care debate have seized upon the prospect of of illegals receiving health care and considered that by its very nature to be an intolerable catastrophe amounts to shamelessly transparent racism, the kind that race-baiting politicians from both sides of the aisle perfected quite a while ago. Of course such racism is acceptable so long as it is cynically dressed up as something else–such as “There’s no way we can afford to support illegal immigrants (although they stimulate the economy with cheap labor, pay sales taxes and often payroll and social security benefits which they will never have access to)!”

  • Marjorie Campbell

    Thom, how can you not recognize it? If rascism is an animosity to someone due to their race, then someone who is “rascist” will find themselves always feeling animosity, distrust and suspicion of all members of that race. Here’s a good test: would you be uncomfortable if your child developed romantic interest in a person of (fill in blank) race? When I brought home an African American boyfriend in Richmond Virginia to my lily white family in our lily neighborhood, well, that pretty quickly separated the rascists out … To tell you the truth, people motivated by rascism are pretty darn easy to detect, particularly over time and in the public eye. This business of shrieking “oh its rascism” everytime there is a tough interaction between people of different races reminds me of the women I know who scold “Oh he’s a sexist” when they have not gotten what they feel they deserve from a male peer. Rascism and sexism are internal states of emotional being that caste some group as inferior to the self – this is a very hard internal state to cloak, particularly over time and, as I said, in the public eye. I bet we all know some real humdingers and could tick them off pretty easily. It just doesn’t appear Joe Wilson would make that cut … and, in my opinion, I am really weary of both Rush Limbaugh and Jimmy Carter torturing the concept to increase publicity. BTW, I also know a number of people who fight with rascist inclinations internally (largely due to family of origin issues) and, as a result, they practice “form over substance” in an effort to always check themselves and achieve the next best thing to true love and tolerance.

  • Marjorie Campbell

    But Jovan, I don’t think that’s racism (I’ll get this word typed correctly at least once) unless you are saying they are racist against “Latin Americans” because they feel that Latinos are genetically inferior to those of Anglo descent? Isn’t the illegal immigrant hostility typically more related to both a certain material greed (“I don’t want to pay for the needs of these people”) and, to some extent, a certain pride of nation and concern for border integrity that not’s racial or economic at all? I’m mean, are you saying there would be less opposition to illegal immigrants if they were streaming in from Canada, for example?

  • Ronald King

    Racism starts as an impulse towards a human being recognized as being different in a physical characteristic associated with physical features that are particular to each race. Then the history associated with that race will associate feelings of threat or safety with that particular person which will then intensify a belief of belonging or a belief of opposition which in turn colors our perception of the message being delivered.
    Now, racism is one form of prejudice and nationalism is another form of prejudice.

  • Ronald King

    I am just curious. Marjorie, are you related to that other Campbell here?

  • Marjorie Campbell

    Mr. King. No. At least I don’t think so! I write over at InsideCatholic.com and, now, at http://www.phasesofwomanhood.org. I don’t think I’m related to Gerald L. Campbell, but who knows the undiscovered links, eh? But now that you mention him, I don’t know that I agree with his observation about the “uptick in racist sentiments” … he might be right in anglo circles. But my observation, from hanging out in deep, urban environments, is that the African American population is truly envigorated by seeing this success of one of their own race. I think that’s an “achievement” that belongs to Pres. Obama … that alone has dramatically changed the racial dynamic and I’ve noticed it everywhere among African Americans in the city. Many seem to hold their head slightly higher … and that, in my opinion, is way overdue. Something Jessie Jackson could never deliver … More, Pres. Obama seems to sincerely avoid racial diatribes as largely tired, old stuff that does not affect him. Having grown up in the South, as much as I disagree with 85% of what he’s done, I love him for it! ~what a gas to see an African American President vacationing at Martha’s Vineyard and his wife wearing $450 designer tennis shoes!

  • Hi Marjorie, racism can manifest in subtle ways… assumptions, assessments, etc. As it is typically hardwired in at an early age through the socialization process, some of its manifestations are harder to pinpoint and remedy than others. (It isn’t race only, but many prejudices also work this way.)

  • Marjorie,

    It seems we share at least one thing in common: the name. Glad to have your presence on Vox Nova.

    The “uptick in racist sentiments” of which I spoke was intended to refer to certain people in the white community, as was Carter’s comment. I would say the majority of white people are appalled at what they see unfolding. But that doesn’t diminish the dangers which the few present.

    Racism is not the whole story, of course, but it is definitely mixed in with the myriad issues of marginalization.

    As for changes in black attitude, you are correct. People are proud and more animated. Having been intimately involved in the inner city of Washington, D.C. for many decades, I can attest to what you say. But I know of no one who isn’t keenly aware of ongoing racial prejudice. It will take many more generations before that problem is fully alleviated. Then we will have to deal with plain old prejudice. Oh, well!

    See you around.

  • Marjorie Campbell

    “racism can manifest in subtle ways… assumptions, assessments, etc.” ~Thom
    “The “uptick in racist sentiments” of which I spoke was intended to refer to certain people in the white community” ~Gerald L. Campbell

    Okay. And okay. But I don’t think it plays in anything I’ve read about most of the “mob” or Joe Wilson. I could be wrong … maybe ole Joe has a long history of racial attacks and the Mob’s been carrying old KKK signs … but, if so, I missed that news. I am sure (no make that certain) there are some white folk who did not vote for Pres. Obama on the mere fact he’s African American and “America is not ready for a negro” … That’s “racist” and I told them so. Now, this extant group is “cloaked” … they are ashamed of their feelings, which they got from their parents and culture of origin. They know they fight with racism in every single encounter with an African-American person … they tend to be on “high alert” whenever they are talking to somebody who might shame them with their “feeling”. They struggle mightily by engaging in “form over substance” … Just like Jimmy Carter? … they are getting there, bringing their kids along, participating in what they know is the better path. I call them “cloaked” … but I also call them “aware”. I don’t give much credit to “unaware” “subconcious” racism. It’s like “unaware” “subconcious” sexism. It’s really extraordinary, in my opinion, to be charging other, fully mature, dignified adults with fatal flaws that they themselves cannot grasp. I don’t get that – and I don’t like it when people do it to me. “Oh gosh … you really want to XYZ … but you just don’t know it.” So, getting back around to the “Mob” and Joe Wilson, why can’t we just take them at their word? Why the racial vindictive and accusation – that not even President Obama is willing to engage in?

  • Pinky

    Yes, Marjorie, Yes. It’s a thought crime which requires no evidence to prove, and it’s a crime you can commit without being aware of it. It doesn’t matter what you do, or why you do it; you’re a racist. How’s that fair?

  • That’s a highly inaccurate interpretation of what actually happens through the process of socialization.

    Catholic thinkers are big on the term “disordered.” It applies, in a sense, in this situation.

  • Joe Wilson has a record.

    “Why the racial vindictive and accusation – that not even President Obama is willing to engage in?”

    Obama is trying to get health care reform legislation passed — and a few other things.

    “I don’t give much credit to “unaware” “subconcious” racism.”

    You may not, but people such as Harry Dent, Pat Buchanan, Lee Atwater, and Karl Rove do, particularly as regards Republican strategic thinking. Code words convey powerful messages and incentives to action. They galvanize fears and use them to achieve political ends.